NATO should say no to eastward creep:

The paper says NATO's move to establish a liaison office in Japan is an initial foray into the region that bodes ill, no matter how it is sliced.


A NATO flag is seen in Brussels, Belgium, in this file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

July 10, 2023

BEIJING – It was expected that the leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would approve the proposal to open a liaison office in Japan at their upcoming summit, which is being held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But France appears to have put a spoke in the wheel, as French President Emmanuel Macron insists that its expansion to the Asia-Pacific would risk shifting the alliance’s remit too far from its original North Atlantic focus.

There are many who share the same view, especially as NATO is trying to get a foot through the door in Asia after it provoked the Ukraine conflict with its eastward expansion in Europe. Arguably, it is that conflict that has revived the transatlantic alliance, which, prior to the outbreak of the hostilities in Ukraine, Macron described as “brain dead”.

How can NATO, an organization that has helped Washington shatter the peace in Europe, contribute to safeguarding peace and stability in Asia? Particularly when NATO’s creep into the region is clearly targeting China, which NATO now claims poses “systemic challenges” to it. Such rhetoric could have come straight from Washington’s mouth, showing who is in the driving seat as the military juggernaut continues its relentless push eastward.

Many countries in Asia have voiced concerns and objections to NATO’s plan, as they know well that the organization’s presence no matter how seemingly innocuous would be a harbinger of trouble. By not allowing their differences to escalate into acrimony, Asian countries have been able to maintain peace and stability in the region, cultivating a conducive environment for the region’s strong development momentum in the past decades. NATO’s move to establish a liaison office in Japan is an initial foray into the region that bodes ill, no matter how it is sliced.

When NATO leaders meet this week in Vilnius, they should know the world wants them to send a positive message that the organization will contribute to resolving differences, de-escalating tensions and calming the crisis in Ukraine, not simply an announcement that it will unconditionally follow Washington’s lead by getting itself in a position to start asserting itself in Asia.

Instead of looking to Japan for a fuse-laying Far East invite, the other leaders of NATO should concentrate on what is happening in Europe and use their summit as an opportunity to forge agreement on swapping their one-sided military-support approach for a concerted stance on promoting peace talks, even if it gets up the US president’s nose.

They should recognize that Washington’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine shows the US’ war lust continues unabated.

scroll to top